Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Establishing space for the Black community

“We are hoping to continue to foster collaboration, communication, and engagement within our community and the broader community,” writes the Black Student, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Alumni Association.

Initiative—the ability to assess and initiate things independently. This is how the Black Student, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Alumni Association (BSFSAA) was formed on June 1, 2020, out of the pain experienced by the Black community following the murder of George Floyd, and the senseless killings of countless other Black people, like Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, and so many whose names may not have been lifted up nationally, but are known in their communities. Originally named the Black Community Care, the members of the community felt a need to organize and formalize, and thus the BSFSAA was born.

Our objective, as the BSFSAA, is to serve as a unified and collective voice to represent the diverse lived experiences of the Black community at University of Redlands, including all campuses. We are incredibly grateful that some of our Marin campus colleagues have joined our meetings. We are hoping to continue to foster collaboration, communication, and engagement within our community and the broader community.

We're here to continue to advocate for the employment of representative numbers of Black faculty, staff, and administrators. We hope to collaborate with Human Resources on such efforts. We are here to continue to promote the mental well-being, safety, and the professional welfare of the Black community. And, finally, we seek to advance the education of the historical impact of policies and practices that influence the prosperity and lived experiences of members of the Black community at the U of R and beyond.

During our time together, thus far, we've had an opportunity to engage in advocacy efforts. We raised awareness of Juneteenth through a letter-writing campaign and funding that was established with the support of Campus Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the Office of Advancement. We were also able to reach out to the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community (UCIC) and the Faculty of Color Caucus and had an opportunity to meet with Cabinet members to share our initial thoughts on how we can continue to work together.

Additionally, many of our members have participated, and been certified in, the Restorative Justice training program as facilitators and as Title IX Equity Advisors.

The BSFSAA had the distinct honor of being awarded the programming award for U of R Homecoming 2020, hosting the event Breakfast with BSFSAA, in which we welcomed our allies and community to engage in necessary conversation, learning, and fun. Currently, the BSFSAA is partnering with our University community, including the Black Student Union and Campus Diversity and Inclusion, in planning the inaugural Juneteenth celebration Tues., June 15 to Thurs., June 17.

Most importantly, we have established a space for the Black community, especially our graduate and undergraduate students, to heal and to recenter joy during these challenging times.

If you are interested in collaborating with us on advocacy efforts or would just like to hear more from our collective voice as the BSFSAA, please reach out to us via email at bsfsaa@redlands.edu. If you would like to support us, please visit our online merchandise store.

We also hope you will join us during our open meetings and events, including the first Juneteenth celebration at University of Redlands this summer. We look forward to continuing to work with all of those in the U of R community!